More than $9,000 was awarded at the finals of the Macomb Community College Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s inaugural student entrepreneur pitch competition. During the April event, eight finalists chosen from a field of more than 50 students pitched ideas to a panel of judges.
First-place winner Naznin Aktar plans to open a shop that sells clothing and household goods primarily to immigrant women, as well as to provide free services such as English language lessons and assistance with the social studies portion of the U.S. citizenship exam. Aktar says her business idea was based in part on her personal immigrant experience. She is studying chemical engineering and food science at Macomb.
Second prize was awarded to Teron C. Varner for his Devine C.U.T.S. business concept. C.U.T.S. is a mobile salon that would offer services such as haircuts, manicures and pedicures from a vehicle that would go directly to the customer. Varner is studying global supply chain management at Macomb.
Third-prize winner Lauren Williams is a business major who is working to establish The Tomorrow Project, a nonprofit organization to educate high school and college students about depression, suicide and mental health through school presentations.
The $5,000 first-place prize was donated by competition sponsor First State Bank. Second- and third-place prizes of $3,000 and $1,000 were provided by Macomb Community College.
The center was established in fall 2014 as a resource for both students and community members for entrepreneurship education and training, mentorship for startups and existing small business, and access to capital. The competition’s goal is to introduce students to the world and process of entrepreneurship.